“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has
anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to
proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s
Luke 4:14-21 (NRSV)
Imprisonment comes is many forms and functions. In literature, we
have Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo, the movie
“Shawshank Redemption”. In our lives, as adolescents, we have
detention, as children we have time-out, as adults we, of course
have jail. Imprisonment can be found in relationships too. We can
find them within our selves and we can impose them on others.
Hear the Good News, it is time to wake up. It is time for us to accept the freedom that can only come by being awakened to the Grace of God in our life.Regardless of the person, what we long for more than anything is freedom. It is who we are and it is what we are about. When we are imprisoned, we are like a bird in a cage or a fish in a tank. And the truth is it takes freedom to help us to understand what imprisonment really is. A bird or fish born in captivity only knows imprisonment, and we, born with sin, only know imprisonment. So as we look at our lives, let us, by God’s grace experience the freedom that only God can provide.
Did you know elephant trainers shackle young elephants with heavy chains to deeply embedded stakes to discourage the young animals from pulling and trying to get away? Something else happens along the way. The elephant learn to stay in its place. Then, as they get older, the powerful elephants never try to leave—even though they have the strength to pull the stake and walk away. Their conditioning has limited their movements. Then, with only a small metal bracelet around their foot attached to nothing, they stand in place. The stakes are actually gone!
Like powerful elephants, we, are bound by earlier conditioned restraints, namely the sin in our life. We feel like we can only do what we know, our course in life has been set. We feel compelled to merely do the best we can with what we have, never striving to be all that God calls us to be. Yet we have hope. When the circus tent catches on fire and the elephant sees the flames and smells the smoke, it forgets its old conditioning and runs for its life. The freedom that God offers to us, by grace, is the fire that burns in our heart and has us run to life, and to run to life free. We are then free to live, free to love, most importantly, free to be open to the power of the Holy Spirit in your life.
Run to life.
Gracious God, we live as a shackled people without You. We limit ourselves or have others limit us. Free us for joyful obedience and enable us to live the life you call us to. Further, please help us to share Your Good News that all might be free. Thank You for all You have done and all You continue to do. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Grace & Peace
Rev. David Banks
First United Methodist Church of Onalaska
PO Box 596
Onalaska, TX 77360